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How Economic Segregation Affects Children's Educational Attainment

  • Susan E. Mayer

Economic segregation increased in the United States between 1970 and 1990. Three hypotheses suggest that this would affect low-income children's educational attainment. The political economy of school funding and predicts that economically segregated school districts reduce the educational attainment of low-income children. Two other hypotheses emphasize the effect of inequality within neighborhoods. But they produce opposite predictions about the effect of economic segregation on educational attainment. None of the hypothesis provides a firm prediction about the effect of economic segregation on overall educational attainment. I combine Census data with data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamic to show that an increase in economic segregation between census tracts in the same state hardly changes overall educational attainment but it exacerbates inequality between high-income and low-income children. With overall inequality held constant changes in economic inequality within census tracts have little effect on low-income children's educational attainment.

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Paper provided by Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago in its series Working Papers with number 0118.

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Date of creation: Jul 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0118
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  1. Thomas Downes & David Figlio, 1998. "School Finance Reforms, Tax Limits, and Student Performance: Do Reforms Level-Up or Dumb Down?," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9805, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  2. David Card & Abigail A. Payne, 1997. "School Finance Reform, the Distribution of School Spending, and the Distribution of SAT Scores," Working Papers 766, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Benabou, Roland, 1996. "Heterogeneity, Stratification, and Growth: Macroeconomic Implications of Community Structure and School Finance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 584-609, June.
  4. Durlauf, S.N., 1992. "A Theory of Persistent Income Inequality," Papers 47, Stanford - Institute for Thoretical Economics.
  5. Hanushek, E.A.omson, W., 1996. "Assessing the Effects of School Resources on Student Performance : An Update," RCER Working Papers 424, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  6. Evans, William N & Oates, Wallace E & Schwab, Robert M, 1992. "Measuring Peer Group Effects: A Study of Teenage Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 966-91, October.
  7. Susan E. Mayer, 2001. "How the Growth in Income Inequality Increased Economic Segregation," JCPR Working Papers 230, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  8. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser, 1995. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," NBER Working Papers 5163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:107:y:1992:i:1:p:285-326 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1996. "Labor Market Effects of School Quality: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
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